The Washington Post: Former Cambridge Analytica Workers Say Firm Sent Foreigners to Advise U.S. Campaigns
Cambridge Analytica assigned dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014, according to three former workers for the data firm, even as an attorney warned executives to abide by U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections.
The assignments came amid efforts to present the newly created company as “an American brand” that would appeal to U.S. political clients even though its parent, SCL Group, was based in London, according to former Cambridge Analytica research director Christopher Wylie.
Wylie, who emerged this month as a whistleblower, provided The Washington Post with documents that describe a program across several U.S. states to win campaigns for Republicans using psychological profiling to reach voters with individually tailored messages. The documents include previously unreported details about the program, which was called “Project Ripon” for the Wisconsin town where the Republican Party was born in 1854.
Trevor Potter, a campaign finance attorney who advised the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said that “it is permissible for campaigns to hire foreigners” as long as they are involved in lower-level activity in a campaign.
“It would be a problem for a U.S. super PAC — or any other domestic political actor — to have foreign nationals involved in running a political operation, including making decisions on strategy, targeting and expenditures for that political entity,” he said. “If foreigners were involved in the senior levels of decision-making for a political organization, that would be a violation of federal law.”